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Everything written is unique in some way. A publisher treads a fine line between preserving that unique quality whilst at the same time presenting the publication in such a way as to make it recognisable and attractive to its target audience. For example our Trekzine, Personal Logs, needs to be recognisable as...
  • short stories and art...
  • about Star Trek, any series and era...
  • a wide range of story types from action/adventure to personal relationship dramas...
  • Fan produced...
  • rated PG13 or less...

All of these key points, which by the way would be tags you would need to apply to your work where possible, should be recognisable from the cover either by being spelled out in the promotional blurb or by recognisable memes in the cover art, font, colour scheme or layout of the cover

Does an illustration have to accurately record something that happens in the story? That is a bitterly fought argument! My own thoughts on the matter are: why can't you have both? A cover that sells the story and accurately shows a scene in the story? Given that a cover has a minor difference with the story but really ticks all the boxes to draw the casual browser I would only veto it if the author vehemently disagreed with it – mainly because if they felt that strongly about it then others who read it and liked it might as well.

Marion Gropen puts it this way on the Self-Publishing Yahoo Group, “If you put art that looks like a cozy mystery on an urban fantasy, it doesn't matter that the room depicted actually appears in the book. The reader who buys it will be expecting a cozy, and they'll be annoyed when it's not. And the reader who actually would like your book probably won't buy it, based on that cover image.”

So what do I look for in a cover? Two things. Primarily I'm looking for something that will allow the prospective reader to accurately identify the style, genre and content of the story. This might sound “commercial” to you - a strange thing to say about a fan production! - but there is a language and symbology to covers, just as there is to road signs and food packaging, and it is this that will make the initial connection between your book and the browsing reader.

However whilst showing how this is similar to other stories the prospective reader might have read, it also needs to explain how it is different as well. It needs to show the unique spark that will make the story memorable for the reader. Hopefully so much so that they will go looking for others thing the author has written!

Remember, what TrekUnited publishing is doing and I would suggest all other publishers of fan produced works, is to emulate professional publishers right up to, but not including the vast profit they make! The writer creates the stories, we package it in such a way as to attract an auduence for it and facilitate the distribution of the finished works. This means that at times we need to follow the experience of professionals in the field and then adapt them to our own purposes.

[To Be Continued?]

This first year of TrekUnited Publishing has been immensely satisfying for me. With the help of a small group of dedicated friends I've been able to introduce promising and established authors to a wider audience, feature the work of some brilliant artists and give Star Trek fans a taste of what fan fiction could be like if we embraced the opportunities that technology is offering us right now.

Much as I have loved what we have done, I cannot help but wish that we could do more. However, if we wish to capitalise on the new ground that we have broken and provide Star Trek fandom with a truly comprehensive fan fiction publishing service - and specifically if we want to do more Trekzines - then we have to expand our team which means, as publisher, I have to bite the bullet and delegate: if I can get supervising editors to help produce our Trekzine, I will set our 2012/13 schedule to bimonthly. So...

Applications are invited for the position of...
Art Editor : Personal Logs Trekzine

This a non-paying position which will be for six issues over twelve months for HFO: Personal Logs, the Trekzine of TrekUnited Publishing. The art editor would be expected to...

- Advertise for, organise the auditioning and supervising of the cover art
- Likewise you would be expected to find B&W title art for each article
- You would be expected to take the raw artwork and add the title, byline & promotion text etc to it to create the title page for each work.
- Manage spot illustrations where available
- Create a banner for each story
- Manage the online storage of all graphics
- Create deviantART entries for the artwork of all stories and work with the artists to help them make the most of their exposure in the 'zine.
- Provide input on artistic and creative matters in production discussions and provide help on graphics problems.
- Contribute towards creating the necessary logos, thumbnails, advertisements, etc needed to promote our work.

You will be expected to have an extensive knowledge of photoediting to accomplish this and ultimately, if it 'gets down to the wire' and we can't find something we need from outside, you will be expected to create something suitable so you will need to have a certain amount of artistic talent of your own.

As with all aspects of TrekUnited Publishing I will be overall quality control but I DON'T micro-manage: it will be your name on the masthead as Art Editor, not mine, so it will be your rep' on the line, not mine. I subscribe to the "Orchestral" organisational method: As the 'Conductor' I make sure everyone is in tune with each other and our finished performance as whole is examplary - I might set standards for you but I don't tell you how to play your instrument! Specifically I will be give you help and guidance from my five years of creating over a half-dozen titles and dozens of issues plus help rnging from contacts & networking to organising & auditioning.

The rewards? You will get the opportunity to network with artists from all over the world, help them get their work publicised and play a vital role in cutting edge electronic publishing! As a supervising editor, you will gain experience in the production and promotion of digital publishing. As an artist you will be constantly challenged to provide solutions to our needs using high-quality artistic input which will give you ample opportunities to practise creativity in graphic design that can be added to your portfolio.

I would foresee that this would be an excellent opportunity for an art student in senior year high school or university who wants experience in the world of publishing. However I also see this as an opportunity for someone who has had experience with hardcopy fanzines to step up to the plate and take a swing at digital publishing.

...oh, and when I say digital publishing, if we go to bi-monthly publishing, I will also be advertising for an eBook editor to turn our content into eBook format for ePub and Mobi, which covers Kindle and everything else!

Pitches should be as Notes to me on deviantART or PM me for an email address. You will be expected to have looked over our last issue of Personal Logs and tell me...

- Why do you want the position?
- What would you do with similar fiction and artwork
- If possible link me to previous work that you feel relevant

Feel free to ask questions here or PM me.

Kirok of L'Stok
Publisher, TrekUnited Publishing
PD Smith - Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571

For more information, go to our new website at

The first graphic novel to come from the virtual pen of PD Smith, his 'proof of concept' issue to test out DAZ Studio as a totally new media. A new starship captain finds herself caught in a war between sworn enemies that could destroy her command. 61p. A4

The graphic novels we are publishing, specifically Madison Bruffy's Novatrek series, are proving to be very popular and it is in no small measure due to the graphic element of the work. These are more substantial than comics - 60-80 pages each - and have been created using a variety of 2D/3D graphics programs but primarily DAZ Studio and its cousin, Poser. Essentially you are given access to a 3D graphics engine and various figures, backgrounds, lighting and props that you can assemble, "pose", take digital images of and then retouch with your 2D editing program of choice. You need to write a good story, be able to turn that into a visual plotline, grabbing the reader with your visual imagery as well as your words then package it as a pdf comic. Sounds complicated? Using the software is a skill you can learn, using it artfully is a talent you can only gain from practice and creativity.

Kirok of L'Stok
Publisher, TrekUnited Publishing
Hailing Frequencies Open: Personal Logs Issue 2

For more information, go to our new website at

TrekUnited keeps the grand tradition of Trekzines alive with another issue of Personal Logs! Our cover feature is a powerful action drama by GS Davis, spotlighting characters from his web comic, USS Tamarlane and the art throughout, including specially commissioned portraits by Sean Tourangeau, is stunning ! This massive issue ranges from continuations of Madison Bruffys' "Altered Lives" and Janet Gershen-Siegels' "Freak School" to TL Shulls' poignant "Filling In The Blanks". There is something for every taste by authors both new and established such as Aquarius & Pauline Mac from The Delphic Expanse, Lil Black Dog & Nerys Ghemor from Ad Astra, Naithom, KarraCaz and Simon Arch. 78p. A5 Digest format

As with everything we produce at TrekUnited Publications, it is absolutely free to download and read. Over the coming weeks I'm going to take great pleasure introducing you to the people who helped to make this happen, the authors and artists, but it is fitting that I first mention the person who has done the most to keep this on track - Jespah! Not only did she contribute one of the stories, more about that later in the week, but she set up the graphic for her story which the other mainstay of TU Publishing, Madison Bruffy, tweeked and polished up for her. She also contributed a commentary on the importance of social media for writers - a hot topic in self-publishing circles - but perhaps most importantly she has been proactive in being our voice on Twitter as well as our representative of various fan fiction forums across the interwebs.

After the last Twelve Trek Days of Christmas, I despaired at the apparent disappearance of the Trekzine [Asidozines have since released a new issue]. I refuse to let it die. I firmly believe that there are writers who have short stories that are well worth printing and there is a readership niche of Star Trek fans who want to read what they have to say. This takes nothing away from the professional prublication of licensed books and comics by Simon & Schuister and IDW because it tells stories that mainstream publication could not support: adult fiction, drama that takes the road less traveled (or the canon road never taken), original characters that tread the ragged edge of danger, stories that range from one end of the feel-good spectrum to the other, from tragedies and disasters that canon says could never happen to happy endings for romantic pairings that never quite made it on the screen.

I hope you enjoy what you read and if you do, give the authors and artists the thing that is the next best thing to a publishing contract: comment! It is the coin that they are paid by, the reward for their labours. Either here or on their home forums, tell them if you enjoyed their work, what you thought was their best point and (gently friends) what you thought they could improve with.

And if it re-kindles the fire you once had in your heart for Star Trek re-visit it with the re-mastered DVDs, move on to more wonders in the cinema of your mind with a book or role-play as one of the great captains of Starfleet yourself on Star Trek Online. Star Trek and Star Trek fandom is not just a nostalgia fest, for those with the itch to explore there are and always will be new frontiers, new worlds and civilisations.

Come with us as we boldly go...

Kirok of L'Stok
Publisher, TrekUnited Publishing

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